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Horses that require surgical treatment for colic are at higher risk for complications and death. Unfortunately, no test exists that can reliably predict which horses will experience complications, making recovery predictions challenging. Peritoneal fluid (PF) bathes the abdominal organs, and contains cells, proteins and other substances that reflect abdominal disease or health. However, current tests based on measurement of a single protein or enzyme in the PF do not reliably predict outcomes for horses with colic. For a more complete picture of the PF, researchers will measure its entire gene transcript and protein content in healthy horses, as well as in those requiring surgery for colic. Researchers hope analysis of these data will reveal changes in PF proteins and gene transcripts related to postoperative complications and death. This work is a first step toward the development of a diagnostic test based on PF proteins or gene transcripts to help equine veterinarians better diagnose and treat horses with colic.

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University of illinois, Urbana
Study country
United States
Rebecca C. Bishop, DVM, MS